Do you have a website? Are you leveraging it to its full potential? Wealth Professional gets the professional take on how to boost your business by building the perfect website.
So what should the successful website of today look and act like? Digital marketing firm Ogilvy, who has worked with Suncorp’s AAMI brand, amongst others, gives us the answers...
“A good salesperson tries to establish what you want to buy and then comes up with a tailored solution so that the chances of you buying something are quite high,” says Athan Didaskalou, strategy & digital planner, Ogilvy Melbourne.
“Your website is a sales tool, it is often the first point of contact when somebody wants to buy something from you. With many websites you don’t get that personal experience or that edited sales pitch. You get that one-size-fits-all approach in the hope that you will convert something. To offer that tailored solution you need people’s personal data, but in the insurance space you often don’t have that information.”
Didaskalou says that while that database of personal information is extremely valuable, and is filled with your current customers, it is not filled with the potential customers or with those who are shopping around to buy insurance.
“There is another way to personalise the sales experience which focuses on the immediate needs of the user and it is called ‘consumer intent’,” says Didaskalou. “That is what people are looking for at that very moment based on searched key words and the way they navigate through websites. That intent will adjust based on which websites they have been to before, what they are looking for at that time and where they are in the world too. Matching that intent matters now more than ever before, as people’s expectations have changed and risen. Static websites with hordes of information and tedious forms used to get the job done. Not anymore.”
Didaskalou explains that the web today is about taking advantage of implicit data, which is defined by user habits which you then leverage to achieve your goals. LinkedIn does this aspect well – it picks up what you have read before, what others in your professional industry are reading and gives you what your bosses are probably reading.
“That is how LinkedIn has become the number one business social network. You need to personalise and optimise the experience for potential and existing customers. It’s called ‘User Experience Design’ (UXD), which is the planned process that you want your potential customers to go through in order to give the best chance of them converting into a sale on your website,” says Didaskalou.
“If your website was a salesperson, you would have fired them a long, long time ago. Australian websites are only just realising the benefits of real-time personalisation and simplifying the sales process to ensure conversion. This is a large cultural shift and about the business leaders understanding that they need to change.”
Using insurance as an example, Didaskalou says Ogilvy looked at the top Australian insurance websites based on traffic and assessed what their user experience was like. Ogilvy then ranked them on customer segmentation, drive to purchase, ease of quote tool, website best practice and guidance. What they found was that every major player with significant traffic had a poor sales funnel in the user experience process when obtaining their quote.
“We then did some basic consumer intent profiling and we found that there are over 800,000 insurance related searches every month, with 50% of them targeted towards car insurance. Most insurers gave car insurance the prominence, which is what they should be doing. However, in the UK we found that 25% of insurance transactions came through those iSelect-type comparison sites, but in Australia that was only 1–2%. That might be because local insurers don’t give that type of information out as freely, but the demand is there,” says Didaskalou.
“Of 223 of the top 883 insurance searches it was all about shopping around. If you know that people are going to be comparing prices with your rivals, your salesperson should be able to adjust, but that was not what we found from Australia’s insurance sites.”
Didaskalou says we are seeing a shift towards that UXD philosophy where you are putting the interest of the user first and matching them with your business objectives.
There are three main phases in the UXD process:
• THE DEFINITION PHASE – this consists of research and profiling your customers.
• THE SOLUTION PHASE – where you start to explore the potential solutions through experimentation.
• THE IMPLEMENTATION PHASE – where the chosen solution is put in place.
“Think of it as moving from the strategy that you first defined to the tactics and how you can execute everything,” says Didaskalou. “It doesn’t end there though, the most important part is still to come. When it comes to a website it is not just about building it and walking away. It is like a retail store, it is the front window of your shop and your visual merchandising needs to change according to seasons and your customers.”
Didaskalou says smart businesses are continually making improvements on their site based on what the data is telling them and what is being discovered through research, which can be conducted via social media or a research company. Businesses need to embrace the philosophy of “perpetual beta”, which means always staying as an unfinished product.
“If I was to use an example using A/B Testing, which is one of my favourite recommendations, where you have two versions of the same website with slightly altered copy, imagery and calls to action.
Take the example of a US software company called 37signals, which is quite an innovator in this space and even publish their results. It tries out long copy, short copy, photos and then monitors the increases and decreases in sales from its website. It was even able to rank which people they used in their photos, with white guys and Asian girls not doing very well at all! It could then successfully profile its audience and what sells well. That is a very rare insight to get without people signing up.”
Didaskalou says there are three UXD truths that assisted corporate change: being brief, being intuitive and being driven by data. Being brief involves saying only what you need to say and a lot of insurance websites fail that aspect as they are very copy heavy. Being intuitive is about knowing what is right and understanding the needs of your clients. These could be aspects like auto-filling forms when certain questions are asked and making sure that everything on the site makes sense. The final aspect, of being driven by data, is making sure your site acts like a salesperson and ensuring it reacts to everything a customer does and knows their intent. You have to find your clients’ “in the moment needs”.
“Every website has different business objectives, which is why everything starts from research. The result should be a data-driven, consumer-centric approach to your website’s user experience. You need to gain insights into what people want and how our website can best service their needs.”
More importantly, you will gain more clients.